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Three-Week Golf Turf Management Short Course

John Humphrey: Greenskeeper, Beacon Hill Country Club Humphrey began his turf education earlier than a many turf Professionals: at the young age of 14.

The Three-Week Golf Turf Management Course was much more than a review for Humphrey, who had been studying turf management for four years.

Attracted to Turf at a Young Age John Humphrey may be young, but he knew he wanted to be a golf course superintendent for a long time. “I was always interested in turf management,” he says, beginning his turf education at just 14 years of age at the Monmouth County Career Center (MCCC). MCCC’s turf resources, including a par 3 golf course that students maintain, gave him a solid foundation in golf course turf care and management. Humphrey, who enjoyed playing golf and working outdoors, knew right away that it was for him and decided to strive to become a golf course superintendent. He began working at the Beacon Hill Country Club in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, on the weekends, gaining valuable real-life experience and a foot in the door to a beautiful course. During his senior year at MCCC, the Center held a turf competition for students in the program. Humphrey entered and identified a variety of weeds and turf diseases to win the first prize—a scholarship for the Rutgers University Professional Golf Turf Management School’s Three-Week Program, offered by the Office of Continuing Professional Education. From Student to Professional In January 2009, Humphrey was the youngest student in the ThreeWeek Golf Turf Management Certificate Program. The Professional Golf Turf Management School runs both Three Week and Two Year Turf Management Certificate Courses. The three-week course is an introduction to the science behind the practices used by golf course superintendents and an overview of the technical skills needed for a golf course turf management job. Since Humphrey already had an extensive background in turf, his age did not put him at any disadvantage. “I had a foundation already, so I knew the concepts,” he explains.

Three-Week Golf Turf Management Short Course Humphrey now has a renewed excitement for turf management. “It makes me want to pursue my career even more,” he says.

Earning his ThreeWeek Turf Management Certificate from Rutgers shows Humphrey is dedicated to his work and serious about his career.

Despite having studied turf before, Humphrey’s experience in the three-week course was not merely a review. “I thought it was a really great course,” he says after finishing. “They touched on everything. It was more than what I expected.” Despite its length, Humphrey emphasized how well-rounded the three-week course is, where he learned everything from growing turf and identifying weeds right down to the math that superintendents need to properly fertilize the grass! “I’m prepared for the two year program,” he says, which he intends to begin this coming year. Sending His Career in the Right Direction Humphrey has already begun to see the impact of the three-week course on the work he does every day. His enthusiasm has only increased: “It makes me want to pursue my turf management career even more,” he says. Since attending Rutgers, Humphrey says, his boss at Beacon Hill (where he now works full-time as a greenskeeper) has definitely taken notice of his dedication and the quality of his work. By earning his Three Week Turf Management Certificate, Humphrey’s boss knows that he is serious about his career choice, and it gives him an edge over other employees who have not committed as fully. With his high school diploma and his Three-Week Turf Management Certificate in hand, Humphrey can definitely see himself reaching his goal and becoming a golf course superintendent. The education and skills he has acquired from the three-week course have made Humphrey ready and excited for the two-year course. “I think it’s a really great program,” Humphrey says of Rutgers’ Professional Golf Turf Management School. “I’d recommend it to anybody.”

Beacon Hill Country Club is located in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. For information about memberships, golf schedules, and hosting events, call 732-291-0533 or visit

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey NJAES Office of Continuing Professional Education 102 Ryders Lane New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8519 Phone: 732-932-9271 E-mail: Web:

John Humphrey, Rutgers Greenskeeper  
John Humphrey, Rutgers Greenskeeper  

John Humphrey was the youngest student in his Rutgers Turf Management class.